An essay on the sport hero may appear to sit incongruously in a volume bearing the general proposition that sporting cultures have been made collectively by people, within social milieus, across time. While heroic figures do not exist apart from the societies from which they receive adoration, the very notion of hero suggests leadership, innovation and superiority in a way that places the hero above the common person and his/her quotidian existence. Among the best-known writings on the hero within modern history is Thomas Carlyle's series of lectures collected under the title On Heroes, Hero-worship, and the Heroic in History.1 Carlyle's overriding aim was made clear in the opening of his first lecture: 'Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here.' His further recognition of these 'Great Men' as the 'creators of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or attain' leaves a reader fairly clear that his was precisely the kind of historical interpretation that Thompson sought to overcome in The Making of the English Working Class. Against Carlyle, but not in refutation of a Thompsonian influenced position on cultural history, can we reconcile an acceptance of the heroic sporting figure with the view of sporting cultures being made by the people?